Skip to main content

Full text of "On Human Remains from Kent's Hole, near Torquay"

See other formats


STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world byJSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.istor.org/participate-istor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



BLA.KE ON HT7IIAM BEMA.IN8 FSOU KBMT's HOLE. Cclxiii 

was repeated, and it tended to confirm the theory — he might almost 
call it the law — that these so-called abnormities become more common 
the further our examinations are extended, and that, in reality, there 
are very few abnormal formations, strictly considered. This specimen 
was another instance, that what appears to be abnormal on a limited 
examination, is found to be common when the investigations are 
extended. 

Mr. Mackenzie drew attention to the fact, that the enamel of the 
teeth was perfectly preserved after an interment of about 600 years ; 
and he desired to know the nature of the soil in which the bodies 
had been buried. 

Mr. RoBEBTS stated that the date of the jaw was about the year 
1280, and that the bodies had been buried in gravel. He saw about 
six or seven different skeletons ; but they were so much decomposed, 
that he could not get more than the jaw, which he now produced, 
and a few bones. 

Mr. Mackenzie further observed, that in the skeletons of some of 
the men killed in Cromwell's battles, though of a much more recent 
date, the teeth were all decayed. 

Mr. C. Cabteb Bi.ake said, that the state of preservation in which 
skeletons were found depended on the nature of the substance in 
which the bodies had been deposited. In the human remains found 
in peat, the enamel was always well preserved. 

The thanks of the meeting having been given to Mr. Roberts and 
to Mr. C. Carter Blake, the following paper was read : — 

On Human Remains from Ken(t Hole, near Torquay. By C. Cabteb 
Blake, F.G.S., F.A.S.L., Foreign Associate of the Anthropo- 
logical Society of Paris. 

Some time ago, Mr. William Davies, of the British Museum, to whom 
I am indebted for many suggestions relating to the specimens in that 
collection, called my attention to a few remains from the classically 
celebrated cave of Kent's Hole, which had been obtained by purchase 
from a dealer named Heggerty, and which had been passed over by 
many observers on the subject. I shall, with the Society's permis- 
sion, give a list of these objects, with a few descriptive notes. 

1. Left humerus, covered on one side with thin layer of stalagmite, 
charged with carbonate of iron. 

2. Left ulna, exhibiting traces, but in less degree, of stalagmitic 
deposit; the bone is worn very thin in middle, where it has been 
gnawed by mice, or other small rodents. 

3. Axis and six fragments of cervical vertebrae. 

4. Right ramus of the inferior mandible of an aged individual; no 
teeth are in place. Sockets, however, exist, indicating the spots 
where «' 1, t 2 on right side, t 1 on left side, canine on right side, and 
p 1 and p 2 right side have been. Alveolar absorption operating 
for a long period of time before death, has removed all traces of the 
true molar series. The body of the jaw is consequently very thin 
immediately below this part, a flattened depression, as is usual in 
aged individuals, scooping backwards a cavity, which obliterating 

TOL. II. — HO. TII. t 



Cclxiv JOUBNAX OF THE ANTHBOPOLOGICAI. SOCIETY. 

nearly every trace of alveolus, has ascended the inner Mde of the 
coronoid process. The tip and a great part of this process has been 
broken away, but sufficient remains to show that it was during adult 
life strong and powerful, extending well forward in front of an ima- 
ginary vertical line drawn from the posterior edge of the third molar 
tooth. Concomitant with the alveolar absorption, and the other traces 
of age, bony deposit has extended across the sigmoid notch, ren- 
dering that depression even more shallow than it would appear from 
the evident slendemess of the condyle, which also has been broken 
away. The depressions for the attachment of muscles are well 
marked, especially that for the masseter, which is so well developed, 
that the external angular process, for the attachment of that muscle, 
is prominently developed outwards and upwards into a tuberculous 
elevation of bony matter. 

Turning to the inner side of the jaw, we find that the same condi- 
tions prevail. The inferior dental foramen is deep ; its attendant my- 
lohyoid groove well marked. The asperity for the attachment of the 
entopterygoid muscle is well marked, without however producing any- 
thing approaching to that inflexion of the inner margin, which forms 
so striking a feature in the jaw from Moulin-Quignon. In fact, all the 
curvature of the jaw in this part brings the most salient portion of the 
inferior margin outwards, not inwards, in such manner as to make the 
convex surface be inwards, the concave outwards, this conformation 
being produced by the great depression for the masseter muscle, and 
elevation of the angle. The obliquity of the ramus, which would 
otherwise have been very great, is thus by the minor development of 
the pterygoid process, compared with the same part in the Moulin- 
Quignon jaw, reduced to a great extent. I append a few measure- 
ments of the jaw. 

inB. 

Iiength of mAndibla, &om tuber maxillare, to angle 3-0 

Height of ascending ramus (tips of condyle and coronoid being 

broken away) 2'4& 

Length of dental series from mesiid incisive line to posterior edge 

of second premolar 1*30 

Distance from mental foramen to mesial inoisive line 1'13 

Height of jaw bet weep front incisors 1°5 

Ditto at presumed spot of second molar 0-8 

5. Four fragments of cranial bones. The conditions under which 
the above bones seem to have been deposited are, according to my 
interpretation, that they have lain loosely on the floor of the cave, 
where they have become coated with small portions of stalagmite, 
without being imbedded in that substance. On comparison of their 
mineral conditions with those of the remains of Felts speloea, Ursus 
spelaus. Hytena tpelaa, and the other animals so commonly found 
under the stalagmite in the same locality, I have been struck with the 
entire dissimilarity which prevails. Although very little animal sub- 
stance remains in the human remains, yet on comparing them with 
those of Hyeena from the same cave, the characteristically red infiltra- 
tion is present on both. 

The conclusion I wish to draw is, that no high antiquity can be 



BLAKE ON HUMAN BEMAINS EBOH BBAZIL. CclxT 

assigned to the remains I have just described ; I nevertheless have 
felt bound to investigate them, as the occurrence of human remains, 
with the frequently described works of art from the same locality, 
would be of the highest interest, should any such hereafter be dis- 
covered. 

Mr. RoBEBTS said, that about four years ago the sum of £450 was 
granted by the Royal Society for the complete examination and 
clearing out of Kent's Hole, and a committee was appointed for the 
purpose ; but owing to the gentlemen who composed it residing so 
far from the spot, and to other circumstances, they did not do much 
towards the accomplishment of the desired object. The chief thing 
they did was to discover about twenty flint implements in the mud of 
the cave, the whole of which were in his possession. He was afraid 
that noUiing else was done by that committee ; but he thought it 
very desirable that the cave which contained so many interesting 
objects should be cleared out, and that all the bones and flint imple- 
ments, and other objects associated with them, should be collected 
and properly arranged. 

On Human Remains from a Bone Cave in Brazil. By C. Cabieb 
Blake, F.O.S., F.A.S.L., Foreign Associate of the Anthropo- 
logical Society of Paris. 

In the British Museum there exist some human remains purchased 
with the Claussen collection, and forming part of the series of speci- 
mens which were discovered by Lund and Claussen in their investiga- 
tions in Eastern Brazil. 

Mr. W. Davies having kindly drawn my attention to them, I will g^ve 
a short list of the specimens, without wishing to draw any further con- 
clusion than that they probably belong to a period of great historical 
antiquity, although probably not coeval with the fossil fauna which 
Lund has described in the Transactions of various northern academies. 

1. Skull of young child. This skull is brachycephalic and asym- 
metrical, the right side being shorter than the left. There are evident 
traces of " parietooccipital" flattening, which has extended above the 
lambdoid and for a well defined space on either side of the sagittal 
suture. None of the sutures are complex. Flattening on the left 
side of the frontal bone is manifest, indicating the direction in which 
the compressing force has been exercised throughout life. No other 
abnormal development is visible. The molar and premolar teeth in 
place show little signs of erosion. The basioccipito-sphenoid suture 
having been present, the basioccipital bone has been broken away, as 
well as the right border of the foramen magnum and the right squa- 
mosal bone. The maxilla is slightly prognathic. The skull presents 
the most similarity to the skulls from Caaete, in Feru, described by 
Castelnau, and to some which I have seen from the uplands of the 
Argentine provinces, near Rosario. 

2. Broken maxillary (adult ?) left side. The first premolar, as well 
as the broken fragment of the second premolar, are the only teeth 
which remain. Slight erosion is visible on the crown of the first tooth. 

t2